'Whiteboard' shows what Brown can do

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UPS Inc. is spending about $35 million to launch an ad campaign in its biggest marketing push since "What Can Brown Do for You?" in 2002.

The "Whiteboard" ad campaign is the most significant creative shift in the Atlanta company's advertising since the start of the now-famous "Brown" campaign, for which UPS spent $20 million.

"The 'What Can Brown Do for You?' campaign was really intended to challenge people's perceptions about what UPS is all about and that we have a lot more capabilities to offer than you might think," said Larry Bloomenkranz, UPS vice president for brand management, advertising and sponsorships. "What this campaign does is continue to ask the question … but now we are trying to answer it in a slightly different way."

The campaign began nationally Jan. 6 and covers television, print, radio, outdoor, direct mail and online ads. It uses a no-nonsense, simple graphic approach that boils down the complex nature of UPS's global delivery, supply chain, technology and other services for business.

"The strength of the campaign is that it allows us to present and engage people around a number of fairly complex solutions that we can offer in a relatively straightforward, honest, one-to-one and simple way," he said. "The neat thing about the whiteboard technique is that you can make something that is very complicated sound and feel much easier."

The effort is also the company's most integrated communication campaign ever, Mr. Bloomencranz said.

"It was designed to span everything from broadcast TV advertising to a Web site to employee communications," he said. "We are pulling this through all the different channels and trying to make it significant."

The lead agency is The Martin Agency, Richmond, VA, which also created the "Brown" campaign and UPS's NASCAR "Race the Truck" campaigns. The interactive agency is IQ Interactive, Atlanta.

In the TV ads, a man draws on a whiteboard with a brown marker to explain the services UPS offers and how they can be integrated to perform multiple functions for businesses. The ads end with the "What Can Brown Do for You?" slogan and link to a Web site that gives the answer. Eleven commercials strive to illustrate the company's capabilities quickly and invite audiences to learn more online.

UPS also doubled its use of online advertising and created an interactive site that will include a viral component launching before the end of January. For print, UPS is using a continuation of the theme that will direct audiences to visit the Whiteboard site for more information. Billboards include a 3-D component and drive to the site through simplified messaging.

Segments in the small and midsize business space will receive unique, creative direct mail pieces emphasizing the Whiteboard theme throughout the year. The mail pieces will have different offers and begin going out in a few weeks.

"We will be targeting specific segments where we see opportunities," Mr. Bloomencranz said. "We won't be doing mass mailings."

Ironically, the background music in the video ads is performed by the band the Postal Service. The song "Such Great Heights" was chosen even though all involved knew the band shared the name of a UPS rival.

"We liked the way the music sounded and how it worked as an accent to what was going on in the video," Mr. Bloomencranz said. "We were aware of [the name of the band] but we liked it and went with the song anyway."

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